Pagan Pride

THE GAME (Part 6)

The Great Work

The great work began in earnest during my days in the mountains. I had a cabin of moderate means to myself and I set about making myself comfortable for the winter. I worked magick on a daily basis, there seemed so much to do, so much to discover and I wrote incessantly in the inspirational surroundings, I made many good friends and went camping, skiing and hiking on a regular basis. I roamed the mountainsides and even the caves beneath Tunnel Mountain, Fortress Mountain and Sulphur Mountain. My days were sheer delight and I did a great deal of true and good things for the first time in many years, maybe ever. I studied hard too, devouring books and so I learned a great deal of the native American way, a legacy I have treasured greatly and the more so for my understanding of my experiences on the Rosebud Reservation and in the Dakotas at the time of my great vision. I had great friends and a string of callers, they nicknamed me "Gandalf" which amused my camping companion, Ken, whom I had named "Radaghast" on one our our first trips. I undertook a few journeys in the otherworld too searching for the blue haired girl but I only ever glimpsed her by accident in my frequent and vivid dreams. I began to formulate a working explanation of magick as well as undertaking a series of rituals based on the paths on the tree of life as described by the tarot. I took few real risks, I had regained my freedom from the demons tenfold had had no desire to return to the darkness of my past by either accident or design, so I came to learn that there is a great case for knowing when not to practice the arts as much as there is for knowing when magick can be advantageous. I learned, maybe truly for the first time, about humility although this was not so easy with the environment around me beginning to notice me. People in Banff are warm and sincere as well as more than willing to judge at value and so I experienced freedom to be considered an "occultist" without the usual prejudices such titles entail - on the contrary, I became firm friends with a local catholic who I met at the bridge club and our long conversations and theological karate lasted deep into many a whiskey filled night.

The workings I performed during my time in the mountains were as extensively written down as they were performed, I intend of course to begin publishing not only the ritual formats but also the journeys and encounters I had during these times, I worked through tarot trumps, planetary rites, elemental journeys and also the tree itself, if I read about it, I tried it . . . By now it was darkest winter and I resolved to work further in the "underworld" which I suppose was quite arbitary given that my pantantheon of archetypes was so wide but I achieved some degree of success and, as the days grew slowly lighter, I came to think more and more of Britain and a homecoming I never thought I would see.

Eventually I did return and I set about increasing my library and stocking up on more and more text books and historical books about my own country. It was from these books that I became interested in witchcraft and came to meet others with whom I studied for nearly a year learning a great deal about witchcraft, natural magic and the pagan ancestry of Britain. During this time too I had become interested in the journalistic activities of a group of psychics who were on the trail of underground organisations dedicated to some very unsavoury magickal practices. As the activities of The People Of Hexe and The Wheel increased so did my interest in thwarting them.

At the same time, through a combination of factors I never acheived my "proper" initiation into a witchcraft coven and after the group I had been close to was disbanded I kept the festivals and gradually widened my pagan social circles. A great deal of learning with some great people greatly shaped my future (and now current) views of the world. All in all I suppose I am a regretful that it was not possible to have been initiated then, modern witchcraft seems to me such a challenging and deeply balanced, wise and proper "religion". I am also sorry that I became so heavily involved in chasing black magicians all over the country but I was gripped by my own importance in such matters and I admit I allowed my enthusiasm to cloud my judgement on numerous occasions.

Several of the events that took place during that time are best left behind, I have no interest in pursuing further any groups connected to darkening of Britain's energy matrix, if anyone wishes to pass on information or the like I suggest they do so to others who I understand will be a good deal more interested and grateful than myself.

I undertook, after the last episode with one of these groups, a series of cleansing rituals, my psyche reeked with the bad stench of black magick and I was, though relatively protected, not unscathed during my encounters. The purification rituals led me on to delving back through the journeys of my year of spirit wandering and I developed a deeper understanding of what had happened to me and where it had led me - genuine initiation still eluded me but I was maturing greatly and, I believe, acquiring a degree of wisdom necessary to compliment my knowledge which was, by this time, becoming quite worthwhile.

Despite some of the vows I had made to both the people I worked spiritually with and to the higher intelligences that guided my spirit through its wanderings I maintained a degree of independence that allowed me to explore other theological media, most notably the indiginous North American way and I became a regular co-respondent with a large and varied community of occultists, qabalists, shamen, witches and practitioners of the arts. It seemed then somewhat inevitable that I encountered Crowley more frequently and so I spent a considerable amount of time studying his life and works. I admit I know relatively little about Thelematic magick but a lot about Crowley's escapades and a good deal about his genius. I took up the disciplines of ritual once more and through five or six years of steady progress I worked a great number of magickal acts and come to a reasonable understanding of the arts as well as returning once again to the fold of the witches around 2002 with a great sense of joy and the reminder that the patterns of our lives are so often spiral.

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